Before blocking NATO supplies, take a look at the repercussions for Pakistan's economy!

The consequences of blocking the supply will be much more severe for Pakistan’s economy than that of US and its...

Ahsan Fraz December 04, 2013
In an interview with a journalist, Akram Durrani of Jamiat Ulema-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), who was the former Chief Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) portrayed his plans for economic development as:
“We believe that God prearranged food and clothing for every man, which He created. If we give up the ways of God and devise our own solutions to perceived problems, we may land in trouble.”

The policy pursued by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) towards the drones strike is very much in procession with that of Akram Durrani’s. It is true that God feeds every mouth on the planet but it is also true that ‘God doesn’t help those who don’t help themselves’.

Pakistan is a country on the verge of collapsing due to many social and economic problems.

The problems include serious power shortages, unemployment, high security issues, corruption, poor infrastructure, illiteracy, poor medical facilities and much more. Our leaders must face these realities and find solutions to these problems by following a more pragmatic approach.

Instead of going political on drone strikes, we should try to focus on our own shortcomings. There is no certainty that the drone strikes will be halted after obstructing NATO supplies, but we may land in some serious trouble if this blockage continues.

Pakistan is currently earning $365 million annually from NATO and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) routes. By pushing it to impede the supplies, this amount will be lost and with it, the livelihood of a lot of people who are directly and indirectly associated with these routes. It can also end up halting aid coming in from the US and other international countries and organisations. The biggest chunk of Pakistan’s much needed aid comes from the US, which is fighting the war in neighbouring Afghanistan, along with its allies.

Pakistan is the fourth largest recipient of US aid which amounts around $1.6 billion for the year 2013-14 as direct overt aid and military reimbursements. Other than that, the US has also recently given a go-ahead to an assistance package of $1.6 billion which was pending due to strains in the relations in near past. Our American allies are also helping in other projects in monetary terms for covering power shortfalls.

Pakistan has estimated shale gas reserves of 586 trillion cubic feet with fresh recoverable reserves of 105 trillion cubic feet. It requires an initial investment of $1.5 billion for the exploration and development wells which the US has contracted to invest in. Aside from this, the US is also providing monetary fund of $1.35 billion for the gas pipeline, which is contemplated to carry natural gas by transforming imported LNG from Karachi to Lahore. They have further agreed to help in the installation of coal based power projects.

The construction of the Diamer Bhasha dam is another important project that the US may be involved in. The Pakistan government has been unable to secure money for this project from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is waiting to hear from the US before providing finances to help with the construction. The dam faces massive funding shortfalls as it could cost up to $14 billion and take a decade to complete. If built, it could provide electricity to 60 million people, one million acres of crop land and a ready supply of water to millions more.

On an unfavourable note, the blockade can result in halting of loans from international organisations under the US’s influence. On an average, the World Bank (WB) lends $1.5 billion to the country annually. The portfolio of the WB in Pakistan currently consists of 30 projects with total commitment of five billion dollars. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just given a bailout package of $6.6 billion for the fiscal year 2013-16 on the request of the newly formed government who faces massive financial constraints.

After shutting down these routes, all supplies will channel through the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) rather than through Pakistan, which will cost $87 million more per month. The consequences of blocking the supply will be much more severe for Pakistan’s economy than that of the US and its allies.

Although the drones are attacking the sovereignty of the country, one should asses its own state of affairs and circumstances. After all, beggars can’t and don’t dictate terms.
Ahsan Fraz An MBA from FAST National University, Lahore, he currently works in his family business in Sialkot. He is an avid reader and tweets as @ahsanfraz1 (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Proletarian | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend I take these Umar stories with a pinch of salt, the man was killed by a zoroastrian he had had enslaved, things were probably not as huggy kissy as you would like to believe they were. And even in that story you wrote only one single jew was spared taxes while the rest continued to be taxed more than the muslims, am I right? The Jizya nothing but a form of harrasment meant to compel non-mulisms to leave their religion. Now consider this, the Romans, when they had recently conquered the Judea in around 100 BC enforced heavy taxes on the Jews. Those taxes bankrupted the lower classes and reduced them to serf status and debt slavery while the upper classes were able to pay those taxes. That was a flat tax. The Romans were one of the most efficient governments of all time and even they had a hard time verifying the wealth of a person. Even modern governments with all their IT technology have a hard time doing that. The Muslim empire basically adopted the bureaucracy of the Roman Empire considering Syria was an important Roman province (with an arab majority) even before Christianity. So what makes you think that Muslim empire had set up an efficient system of progressive taxation, efficiently varying tax rates according to their wealth and income?
Anwaar | 6 years ago who says that taxing system was 100% efficient... but atleast they were doing a better job than what your Govt. do.... the things were never all rainbows EVER in the world.... personally i think you should do thorough reading of the history and try to read the versions of all sects.... then you'll have the neutralized point of view that we all normally lack...
321 | 6 years ago you have some serious reading up to do on history. first of all the man who killed him wasn't his slave. he was someone else's. secondly the jizya was not high at all. stop making up silly claims. it was made as easy as possible for the non-muslims. secondly it wasn't only one man further proving your extreme lack of knowledge on islamic history. it's well known that after umar saw the condition of this man he changed the law so that others with the same condition would also not be affected. lastly you fail to take into account that the governors were sahabbas not romans and the laws came from the khalifa not the emperor. so no. roman laws were not used. muslims had their own set of laws believe it or not.
raj | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend Read this and consume the facts: Now i hope you will not give me this cr-p that you dont believe on these new pieces but they are quoting FBR here. Open your eyes please. People in Pakistan are not paying taxes in a fear that it would not be used properly. It is because of this reason Pakistan is a backward nation. if most of the people had paid taxes, there would be less chances to make that huge sum into black money. I did read you right and not drawing conclusion. Yes that class (which is less than a percent acc to FBR) do pay taxes because they have no choice other wise they would like to opt out from it too. The nly thing that can help prospering is paying taxes and thats the end. Accepting the flaw earlier might help but still working class like you and others believe all is good.
ABKhan | 6 years ago Dear Raj, I am still waiting for the facts that only 5-10% people of Pakistan are office going. On the other hand the article you posted says that only 4.7% people in India pay tax. Please do not give me the cr-p that its still better than Pakistan that out of 100% India achieved 4.7%
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